Chemokines are a family of small proteins inducing directed cell migration via specific chemokine receptors, which play important roles in a variety of biological and pathological processes. Their respective ligands act as proinflammatory mediators that primarily control leukocyte migration into selected tissues and upregulation of adhesion receptors, and also have a role in pathological conditions that require neovascularization. Therapeutic strategies based on modulation of chemokine receptor pathways were reported to be promising clinical strategies in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and viral infections. Recent studies have been also demonstrated that chemokines and chemokine receptors are produced by many different cell types, including tumor cells. Overexpression of many chemokine and chemokine receptors in tumor cells suggests that they are crucial regulators of the levels of tumor infiltrating leukocytes implicated in the tumorigenesis of multiple human cancers. In the tumor microenvironment they control a variety of biological activities, such as production and deposition of collagen, activation of matrix-digesting enzymes, stimulation of cell growth, inhibition of apoptosis and promotion of neo-angiogenesis and metastasis. In this review we elucidate key aspects of chemokine signaling as well as clinically relevant strategies to modulation of chemokine receptor activity in the treatment of cancer with emphasis on small-molecule agents. We also elucidate various research strategies which were found to be useful in the design of chemokine receptor targeted therapeutics.
Keywords: Chemokine, chemokine receptor, tumor, cancer, drugs, inhibitors, antagonists, design
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